President George W. Bush and President-elect Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office of the White House Monday, Nov. 10, 2008. White House photo by Eric DraperIn the series of interviews President Bush has given in the last few weeks you won't hear him utter one critical word about his successor. In fact, he's done just the opposite by taking every opportunity to wish Barack Hussein Obama well. The President even went so far as to suggest to the White House Press Corps that they treat Obama with respect.
The President and Mrs. Bush have done their best to extend their hand to the Obama's by welcoming them to the White House. President Bush took the highly unusual step of hosting a lunch for Obama with the ex-Presidents. His Administration also held a joint training session on homeland security with Obama's incoming team.
If that were not enough President Bush devoted a portion of his farewell address on Thursday night to offer these kind words:
Five days from now, the world will witness the vitality of American democracy. In a tradition dating back to our founding, the presidency will pass to a successor chosen by you, the American people. Standing on the steps of the Capitol will be a man whose history reflects the enduring promise of our land. This is a moment of hope and pride for our whole nation. And I join all Americans in offering best wishes to President-Elect Obama, his wife Michelle, and their two beautiful girls.But Barack Hussein Obama (he's decided that after he won we can use his full name) didn't hear Bush speak those words because he decided to go out on the town Thursday night just as the President began to speak.
May God bless this house and our next President.
Surely he had time to read a transcript or watch a replay before he gave an interview to CNN on Friday? Apparently not. "Obama: Bush a good man but mistaken" is the headline from that interview being flashed all over the world.
At least he praised Bush for making his life easier but clearly that message was overwhelmed by yet another slap at the current president and an attempt to blame everything that will go wrong in the coming Obama Administration on President Bush.
Bush a 'good man' but mistaken: Obama
Agence France Presse
Jan 16, 2008
President-elect Barack Obama said Friday President George W. Bush was a "good guy" who loved his country, but warned he would leave the United States struggling with the result of "bad choices."
"If you look at my statements throughout the campaign, I always thought he was a good guy," Democrat Obama said, when asked in a CNN interview whether he still stood by his campaign trail criticisms of the Republican president.
"I think personally he is a good man who loves his family and loves his country and I think he made the best decisions that he could at times under some very difficult circumstances.
"It does not detract from my assessment that over the last several years we have made a series of bad choices and we are now going to be inheriting the consequences of a lot of those bad choices."
Obama however praised his predecessor and his White House staff for presiding over what many observers say is the smoothest transition of power in recent history.
Since Obama is adopting many of what he previously called Bush's "failed policies" one might wonder just what mistakes he is referring to? For instance, Obama promised that our troops would be out of Iraq in sixteen months. Yet that promise seems to have faded away as quickly as the $3,000 tax credit for businesses to hire new workers and so many others.
In this example of the behavior of both President Bush and incoming President Obama we have a contrast in the styles and personality of two men. President Bush has proved time and again that he places his own political interests second to the greater good of the nation. Obama has shown that he does the opposite. He can't even make an unqualified statement of thanks to President Bush without trying to shift any blame for future mishaps onto him.
That's the difference between class and crass. And it may also prove to be Obama's ultimate undoing.